News / Asia

Obama in Burma, Says Trip Not Endorsement of Government

US President Barack Obama speaks during a media conference in Bangkok, Thailand, November 18, 2012.US President Barack Obama speaks during a media conference in Bangkok, Thailand, November 18, 2012.
x
US President Barack Obama speaks during a media conference in Bangkok, Thailand, November 18, 2012.
US President Barack Obama speaks during a media conference in Bangkok, Thailand, November 18, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
U.S. President Barack Obama has arrived in Burma, becoming the first American sitting president to visit the Southeast Asian country.

Mr. Obama is scheduled to meet with both Burmese President Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi, the nation's leading democracy activist, who has been free only since 2010 after 15 years of detention or house arrest.

President Obama has said his trip to Burma does not represent an endorsement of the government, but is rather an acknowledgement of the political reform process under way in the country.

The president said there has been a stated commitment to further political reform in Burma, which he says deserves encouragement. 

"But I do not think anybody is under any illusion that Burma has arrived, that they are where they need to be," said the president. "On the other hand if we waited to engage until they had achieved a perfect democracy, my suspicion is we would be waiting an awful long time."

He said the goal of his visit is to highlight the progress that has been made, and also to address the steps Burma needs to take in the future.

The trip underscores Mr. Obama's increased focus on Asia as he tries to fulfill his pledge to strengthen the U.S. economy during his second four-year term in office.  The Obama administration has said American foreign policy and engagement will "pivot" toward Asia in the future.

The Burmese government has recently begun making democratic reforms, but some human-rights groups have cautioned that it is not yet a fully free country.  

The U.S.-based rights group Human Rights Watch told VOA the president should have waited to travel to Burma until the country makes more progress in restoring basic freedoms.  

Mr. Obama also is attending a meeting of regional leaders from ASEAN in Cambodia, another destination where he is expected to raise concerns about long-standing human-rights problems.  The president is expected to urge Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to hold free and fair elections and end land seizures.

Mr. Obama spoke in Bangkok during a news conference with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Sunday.  Thailand was the first stop on a three-nation Asian visit in his first overseas trip since winning re-election nearly two weeks ago.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid